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Power theft is a problem that has made its way into Ugandan homes and businesses, robbing the economy of 105 billion shillings every year, consequently weakening the economy, causing power outages, tariff increases and deaths from electrocution.

When we were asked by Umeme (Uganda’s leading power distributor) to create a campaign to help build awareness and help end this vice – our mission for the campaign was simple, we wanted people to take united action against electricity theft.

Our approach was to create collective shame for the perpetrators hence the campaign name “Wuuyo” – which is a local alarm call that points out a thief or wrongdoer.

We kicked the campaign off with a 30-day amnesty encouraging anyone on the wrong side of the law to correct their ways.

Our message was straightforward – report electricity theft in your community as it is not just an Umeme problem but your problem as well, by showing that we are all equally affected by it. We encouraged Ugandans to report any incident of electricity theft anonymously to a crime hotline.

This behavior change campaign went beyond the confines of traditional advertising. Print, outdoor, radio, TV and digital were complimented by educational collateral in the form of posters and fliers, on-the-ground activations and community as well as stakeholder engagement.

While the Wuuyo campaign was just the start of a long behavior change journey, we are proud that we reached over 8 million Ugandans with the campaign, the over 30 court cases and convictions, 70 arrests and 10 billion shillings recovered during the campaign period